Thursday, August 9, 2007

Spell Rotation for Single Target Fire Spells

PLEASE NOTE: As of 9/24/09, I have updated this post for WOTLK. I'm leaving this here for posterity, but please go visit the updated post here.

As a raiding mage, you have to know what your role in a raid is. You're not there to heal or to tank (although you do tank in some encounters). You're not there because everybody loves the intellect buff and your free food and water. You're there to do damage, and lots of it. We've got a little bit of all the flavors of damage as well. Aoe? Oh yeah... we're the kinds. Burst damage? Yeah, we got it. Sustained damage? I suppose this is kind of spec dependent, but there's certainly builds that help keep this even through most of the long fights. DoT's? Well... umm... Not exactly. But if you can get a Rolling Ignite and crit every 4 seconds, you're causing some serious damage. Okay, okay, we're not kings all around, but that wouldn't really be fair to the other classes, so we should be happy with what we've got. (And I am.)

"But which spell do I use in each situation?" you might ask. Being a deep fire spec (10/48/3), there's a few things that you should do to keep your DPS at it's height. The main thing is having 5 scorch (with improved scorch talent) up on your target at all times. This will increase all damage from fire spells by 15%. So, as far as Spell Rotation on bosses go, people say to start out with 5 scorches, and then something like 7 fireballs, 1 scorch, 7 fireballs, 1 scorch... etc. This keeps you doing your main nuke (fireball) for most of the time, but including a scorch within that 30 seconds to keep the full 5 debuffs on the boss. Personally, I don't buy it. I think it's kinda silly. What if you get resisted? You don't have time to cast another scorch before the debuff wears off. So, let's look at what each of the direct damage fire spells do so we can understand better when to use them. (I based the numbers from Arcannis Mage Damage and Talent Calculator using my current spec and gear bonuses.)

Fireball- This is your nuke. You're going to be casting this spell most of the time. Besides Pyroblast, it is your hardest hitting spell, but it is your highest DPS spell that does not have a cooldown. My average hit is about 2723 with a DoT of about 222 damage over 8 seconds. The average DoT from Incinerate is about 261 damage for 4 seconds. I have a sustained DPS (meaning over time and factoring in crits) of about 993 with this spell. DPM (Damage per Mana) comes in at 11.03. It's bread and butter; use it.

Scorch- As I mentioned before, if you have Improved Scorch as a talent, you want to make sure you have 5 of these debuffs on your target at all time. The debuff lasts for 30 seconds and is renewed every time somebody hits the target with another improved Scorch. (Remember, "hits" is an important word. The spell can be resisted.) With multiple mages, you can get 5 debuffs on a target in no time. The spell doesn't hit as hard as Fireball, so you can usually start a little earlier on the initial pull (don't have to worry about pulling agro as much). The DPS is 849 with a DPM of 11.45. The higher DPM means that you won't run out of mana as fast as with Fireball, but you won't do as much damage since the DPS is lower.

Fire Blast- This is the highest DPS single-target spell for mages. The hits aren't the strongest, but since it's an instant cast, the DPS comes in about 1334. The DPM, however, is 6.84. If you could chain cast this spell, you'd be out of mana real quick. But with the 8 second cooldown (6.5 talented), you'd be sitting around a lot. Use this spell if you need some burst damage, or you have some available mana. It's usually threaded somewhere in the middle of Fireballs.

Pyroblast- This is your hardest hitting spell. My average Pyroblast hit is about 3238 damage. But the super long cast time makes the DPS only 676. There's not a lot of reasons to use this in the middle of battle. If you've got Presence of Mind in your spec, an instant-Pyroblast is a huge boost to Pyroblast. It's also not a bad way to open with this spell. The DoT from this spell is the strongest we've got, so it doesn't hurt to have it on in the beginning of a fight. Let the tanks get agro while we wind up with one of these bad boys. It's even nicer if you have another fire mage in your group that can get the scorches up while you're casting this monster. It's deadly, no doubt, but, like I said, you probably don't want to be chain casting it.

That's about it for this week's Single Target Fire Spells lesson. I'll go through other specs and spells as well in due time. Our Kara group succeeded in clearing the tower in 2 days, so I actually have a few days of not being in there. :)


solidad said...

That was very interesting I had no idea what Mages did to keep up their damage. For Rogues it’s just; instant attack to build combo points into either Slice and Dice(which should be up all the time) or rupture (should also be up all the time if the boss is not immune to bleeds) and a finishing move here or there if you have extra combo points. Always make sure you have the correct poisons on for the boss.
If the boss is immune to both bleed and all poisons (Curator) then, well… you have no DPS as a mutilate Rogue. :-(

Sirsha said...

So I haven't actually done a lot of the math myself but in doing some reading here is what I've found.
A) On trash one scorch and then just fireball as fast as you can. if you try and get all 5 scorches up the mob is dead before you can do any real dmg. This is obviously depending on the trash and how fast they die.
B) This is my own personal preference. I only use fireblast when the mob is 10% or less and I know I won't get off any other spell. The reason behind this has to do with the fact that when you use it you set off the global cool down which means you'll have to wait 1.5 secs to start your next fireball instead of being halfway through your next fireball.
C)On Bosses load up on scorch and just make sure it stays up. For exe you know Moroes is going to vanish make sure to renew your scorch before he vanishes so your sure it will still be on when he's back.

Anyway just my two scents and how I DPS. I also like to pyroblast while the tank is building aggro. It = DPS that I wouldn't be doing just standing there watching the sunders go up :).

Leiandra said...

I found that I am very laissez faire when it comes to trash mobs. Is it going to matter if I do 669 DPS doing straight Fireballs with no Scorch debuffs or 650 doing Scorch the whole time? Probably not. The mobs will still die. It may take 1/2 a second longer, but they'll still die.

I sometimes start casting other spells just for the fun of it if I know that we'll kill the mobs no matter what I do. For example... did you know that Ice Lance doesn't do very much damage with my build and gear? Hmm... who knew? I'll have to try it again some more tonight.

Fireblast will increase your DPS if you use it. The calculations on Arcannis show that with 1000 spell damage, your DPS with a Fireblast will be 869. That's the 1303 average hit divided by 1.5 for global cooldown. So, yeah... you won't be 1/2 way through your next Fireball, but you'll have done more damage. But the damage per mana is only 2.98 where the Fireball would be 5.2.

Also, I don't care as much if I get that last hit in. So I don't get more damage on the damage meters... I don't really care. The mob is dead, we get the loot, let's move on. I know I'm good. I know I have good gear. I know I have good DPS. Let's move on to an important boss fight where I'll show it to you. But that's just me.